Thursday, November 29, 2012

My New/Old Cutting Table

Plans to relocate my sewing room to our unfinished basement never materialized, and to be honest, I'm glad because I really don't think that I would like sewing so far from the rest of my house. For now, I've moved sewing into the "sitting room" area of our rather large master bedroom.  In five years of living here, we've really rarely used it for it's intended purpose. The fireplace, which burns propane, has only been lit once.
 Storage for fabric and books is still upstairs in a spare walk-in closet off the small guest room where my sewing has been sharing space with a twin size bed until recently. Now that I've moved my machine, I found that my little cutting table needed to be traded for something that would also provide some storage for rulers, fabric, etc. Enter this old dresser: perfect height for cutting, cute shape, moveable, and lots of drawers for storage. 
 Now, many people (including my hubby, at times) think that it is a dreadful sin to cover up perfectly good, tiger striped wood with a coat of paint. Me, I don't have that problem. This time, Mr. Lollyquiltz just smiled sweetly as I described how we already had "too much wood going on in our bedroom and how cute this dresser would look painted cream...yada, yada, yada."
 Long story short, I love my new light colored cutting center! My hubby widened the top by adding a 4-inch piece of wood to the back, making it just big enough to hold my cutting mat perfectly.
I fell in love with Annie Sloan's chalk paint at an antique store recently and will testify that there is absolutely no prep needed to use it on an old piece of furniture. I was going for a cottage look so sanded off some of the painted edges. The waxing takes a bit of elbow grease and learning curve, but after watching an online tutorial, I had no problems. The paint is a bit pricy, but the result is worth it to me. As they advertise: the paint is for girls, but boys can use it too! Am I tempting you?
I'm loving that I no longer have to bend over while cutting and every thing can be tucked out of sight in the drawers, if I want. The little glass knobs are the perfect addition, I think.
 Since we don't use the fireplace anyway, I decided to make a small removable design wall to cover up the opening. An added perk is that the insulation board covered in flannel blocks out any drafts in the winter time. You can see that I'm working on a layout of my Mazed quilt...unfortunately, the design wall is not quite large enough for all of the blocks. oh, well.
Next, I'm planning some ideas for storing my rulers on back of the dresser, which faces my sewing area. I'll do a full reveal once I get everything in place.
Thanks to everyone who entered the book giveaway last week and welcome new readers who have joined me! Mr. Lollyquiltz picked number 72 out of air, which happened to be Sylvia Whitesides. Sylvia, I posted your book and fabric yesterday, so keep an eye on the mailbox!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday Morning

"Therefore, since we are receiving 
a kingdom that cannot be shaken,
let us be thankful, 
and so worship God acceptably
with reverence and awe"
Hebrews 12:28

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving Day here in the USA.... a day of feasting and being thankful for the blessings that we enjoy. I hope that you get to spend it with someone that you love!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Modern Designs for Classic Quilts-- Book Review and Give Away

Today, I am so pleased to introduce you to a new book about my favorite type of modern quilts: those based on traditional quilt patterns. Modern Designs for Classic Quilts is destined to become a classic itself, with it's beautiful illustrations, easy to follow directions and exciting design layouts!
The table of contents provides a sneak peek into the wealth of great information and teaching techniques that this lovely book contains. Each quilt is labeled with a difficulty level from beginner to advanced, is accompanied by easy to follow illustrations and highlighted with extra hints from the authors, Kelly Biscopink and Andie Johnson.
There are more than a couple of quilts within these pages that I am dying to make, including this stunner called Effie's Web. 
 I've had a spider web quilt on my Quilt Bucket List for quite awhile now and Andie's instructions look clever and easy to follow. Andie and I have been blogging friends for several years now, first "meeting" through a block swap we both belonged to. Through the wonders of email, she has become a dear 'invisible' friend to me and one that I hope to meet in person someday soon. 
 Kelly's quilt, Must Stash, is a wonderful way to highlight all of your favorite stash fabrics in one delicious quilt. I love Kelly's tip for preparation: "Consider making a box or drawer in your sewing room specifically for this quilt.Every time you buy a new fabric you really love, cut a diamond and throw it in the box. Soon you'll have a precut quilt featuring your favorite fabrics all ready to go together." Isn't that a great idea!
 What could be more classic than a log cabin quilt? But wait! This "Urban Cabin" is not like your grandmother's quilt! Another one for my bucket list, for sure!
 And then there's this gorgeous and original layout for the traditional dresden block. What a fresh and unique design. These gals are geniuses!  Many quilts also feature a mini project as well, like this adorable offset pillow pattern.
 Wanting to really "try out" the book before I reviewed it for this blog tour, I decided to create a small project using one of the patterns. This simple and fun little quilt called "Les Elefants et Hippos  (Andie speaks French!)  was fast and easy to put together. Because there  are lots of seams that need to come together just so, it's labeled, rightfully so,as an intermediate level project. (Most of the projects in the book are intermediate level.)
 Like the famous disappearing 9-patch design, this pattern involves creating simple 4 patches and then cutting them apart with a rotary cutter and ruler to create a more complicated and sophisticated block.
Instead of the suggested 4 novelty prints plus a neutral graphic print, I chose to use shades of aqua solid fabric coupled with a grey background print called Mod Century, by Moda.
 I made nine blocks, rather than the sixteen in Andie's original quilt and had the cutting and piecing all finished in an afternoon and evening.
 My idea was to try to create a 'paint dipped' look using fabrics that I had on hand: a collection by Connecting Threads. When I didn't have the one really light aqua to achieve the ombre fade I was going for, I just soaked one of the fabrics in a little bleach water for a while till it was the tint I wanted.
 I may end up adding a little border of another fun Mod Century fabric to make the top a bit larger before I quilt it.
This picture makes me think that I might need to seriously consider making a wooden barn quilt to hang over the door of our little garden shed. I wonder what my hubby would think of that!
I know that any one of you would enjoy Modern Designs for Classic Quilts as much as I do. Andie and Kelly have generously donated a copy to give away to one lucky reader. I'm including a fat quarter of the Mod Century fabric from my little quilt. To enter the give away, please leave me a comment telling me one of your favorite traditional quilt block designs.
To be eligible, please make sure that you have an email address available. I'll draw a winner on Sunday evening, November 25. 
For more book reviews and give aways, check out the blog hop below:
This giveaway is closed.

Tuesday, Nov. 6             (Lindsay, CraftBuds)
Wed., Nov. 7                 (Jill, Darling Jill Quilts)
Thursday, Nov. 8           (Faith, Fresh Lemons)
Friday, Nov. 9               (Generation Q)
Saturday, Nov. 10         (Angela, Quilting is my Therapy)
Sunday, Nov. 11            (Shannon, Stitch Craft Create)
Monday, Nov. 12           (Laurie, Scarlet Fig)
Tuesday, Nov. 13          (Kaysie, KZJo’s Studio)  
Wed., Nov. 14               (Jessica, A Little Gray)
Thursday, Nov. 15         (Mary, The Tulip Patch)
Friday, Nov. 16             (Deborah, Whipstitch)
Saturday, Nov. 17         (Lindsay, The Cottage Mama)
Sunday, Nov. 18           (Jenny, Sew Kind of Wonderful)
Monday, Nov. 19          (Carla, LollyQuiltz)
Tuesday, Nov. 20         (Thomas, Thomas Knauer Sews)
Wed., Nov. 21              (Brenda, Pink Castle Fabrics)
Thursday, Nov. 22        (Lindsay & Liz Rea, CraftBudsInspire Me Grey)
Friday, Nov. 23             (Sarah, The Last Piece)
Saturday, Nov. 24         (Cara: Cara QuiltsAndie: AndieJohnsonSews, Kelly: Stitchy Quilt Stuff)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday Morning

"Those who know your name will trust in you,
for you, Lord, have never 
forsaken those who seek you."
Psalm 9:10

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sneak Peek at a Give Away!

Be sure to stop by on Monday to find out how I turned a simple 4-patch block...
 into this...
 with instructions from this lovely new book!
You will get a chance to win your own copy of Modern Designs for Classic Quilts, by Kelly Biscopink and Andie Johnson, too.  Find out all the details on Monday's leg of the Modern Designs for Classic Quilts blog tour. Right here!
If you'd like even more chances to win, here's the list of the tour so far. Some give aways are still open...

Monday, Nov. 5         (Andie and Kelly, AndieJohnsonSews and Stitchy Quilt Stuff)
Tuesday, Nov. 6       (Lindsay, CraftBuds)
Wed., Nov. 7             (Jill, Darling Jill Quilts)
Thursday, Nov. 8      (Faith, Fresh Lemons)
Friday, Nov. 9            (Tracy, Generation Q)
Saturday, Nov. 10    (Angela, Quilting is my Therapy)
Sunday, Nov. 11       (Shannon, Stitch Craft Create)
Monday, Nov. 12      (Laurie, Scarlet Fig)
Tuesday, Nov. 13     (Lindsay, The Cottage Mama)
Wed., Nov. 14           (Jessica, A Little Gray)
Thursday, Nov. 15   (Mary, The Tulip Patch)
Friday, Nov. 16         (Deborah, Whipstitch)
Saturday, Nov. 17    (Kaysie, KZJo’s Studio)
Sunday, Nov. 18       (Jenny, Sew Kind of Wonderful)
Monday, Nov. 19      (Carla, LollyQuiltz)
Tuesday, Nov. 20     (Thomas, Thomas Knauer Sews)
Wed., Nov. 21           (Brenda, Pink Castle Fabrics)
Thursday, Nov. 22    (Lindsay & Liz Rea, CraftBudsInspire Me Grey)
Friday, Nov. 23            (Sarah, The Last Piece)
Saturday, Nov. 24        (Andie and Kelly, AndieJohnsonSews and Stitchy Quilt Stuff)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Morning

 "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving
be made for everyone---for kings and all those in authority,
that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness."
I Timothy 2: 1, 2

I Timothy 2: 1-2

Friday, November 9, 2012

Knock-Off Tunic

Once upon a time I used to sew most of my clothes. Seriously. Even pants. I once made a fully lined wool maxi-coat (does that date me) complete with bound buttonholes. Then  along came T.J. Maxx and Marshall's. Fabric stores started closing. Then patterns started costing more than a cute sweater at the above mentioned stores. Lately, though,  I've gotten interested in starting to make a few things again. Here we go...
My sewing buddy, Jan, and I decided last weekend to try to copy this cute corduroy tunic...last year's model, from the JJill Store. Retail for the top was around $79. Too much, we decided, to warrant buying this year's model. How hard could it be?
The Simplicity pattern we decided on was on sale for $1.99. The regular price is...are you ready???.....$17.99! What's up with that? It's tissue paper...and they even make you cut on those crazy confusing lines for the size you want. At that price, I think there should be one piece for each size, don't you?     I digress.
Cutting out is not our favorite part, we decided. When we compared the paper pieces to our JJill top we discovered that unless we used stretchy fabric, we were going to have to cut outside the lines as we neared the lower part of the shirt, let's just say! We used a cute hound's tooth flannel that cost us only $7 each with the sale price and end of bolt discount at JoAnn's. Our buttons were a couple of dollars, so the shirts ended up only  costing around $11 each! Yay!
We liked the detail of a seam across the bodice in the front and back of the corduroy shirt. 
It was easy to add the seam by simply cutting the pattern pieces in two and adding seam allowances. We chose to change up the collar on our black and white flannel shirts.
 All in all, I'm pleased with the way my shirt turned out. It fits me more snugly across the shoulders than the JJill shirt, but I don't mind that. This was a big problem for Jan, unfortunately, who is now on the hunt for some lucky person with narrower shoulders than she, who would love a JJill knock off shirt in black and white flannel!
 With one success under my belt (or around my hips), I'm ready to try again. This time around I will be using the Amy Butler 'liverpool' shirt pattern to try to copy this year's version of the corduroy JJill tunic. I'm using a green pinwale that cost me $5 a yard on sale at JoAnn's. I purchased 3 yards. The buttons were half price too so that was only a couple of dollars. The pattern was around $12, I think. (It's been on my To Do list for a couple of years!) So the total cost is around $30 including the pattern, which I can use again, of course.
I'll let you know how it turns out. In the meantime, I'm ready for that cooler weather that's heading my way, I hear!

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Quilty Weekend

I was fortunate to attend, not just one, but two quilt shows over the weekend!  The Blue Valley Quilter's Guild, held their bi-annual quilt show in a beautiful Civic Center on Friday and Saturday.
The show coordinaters wanted "lots of quilts" so, I entered 12 quilts, most of them medium size. You might spot a few in these photos...
The guild is selling tickets for a chance to win this beauty and I am really hoping that my number will be drawn!  My friend, Trish, designed it, put most of it together herself and even quilted it! Isn't it gorgeous?
It was fun to meet up with Linda, [Flourishing Palms] who was in town visiting her daughter, at the show and spend some time with her. We hope to have coffee one more time before she heads back to Florida. 
A highlight of the show for me, was getting to shop at Marmalade Fabrics, who had a booth at the show. If you haven't discovered Tammy's on-line shop yet, be sure to visit soon.
Of course, I couldn't leave without picking out some fun modern fabrics! These two Mod-Century fabrics by Moda are perfect for a little project I'm working on for the Modern Designs for Classic Quilts Blog Tour, which starts today. Be sure to click on the link above to find out how to win a copy of this wonderful new book. I'll be giving away a copy during a special post on Monday, November 19, so be sure to check in that day! You can see a hint of the book under my fabric in the picture below.
I was so excited to get a message from Amy that my QR Code quilt has been nominated for the Two-Color Quilt category in the Blogger's Quilt Festival. I'd love your vote! Hop over and see all of the gorgeous entries.
If you follow college football at all, then you know that Kansas State University won again yesterday and is #2 right now. Having two children, daughter-in-law, and a son-in-law that graduated from K-State, we are following the team closely. Lula and Jane are such big fans that they were even K-State cheerleaders for halloween!
Go Wildcats!